Saturday, February 25, 2006

ASK MARLEN: Mountain Streams, Sparkling Water, Summer scents

Hi Marlen,

I need fragrance help. My nose is not as developed as my eye and so chosing a fragrance just isn't my forte. I know what I'm looking for generally, but I need some good suggestions to get me on my way. Everyone to whom I talk has a suggestion; everyone wants me to smell like them. Yet those suggestions are not exactly trustworthy because they don't have very much experience.

No matter what, the scent for which I seek must be one that will only be rarely detected on others. For this reason, I've found myself favoring the Creed scents. They seem to have a niche that does not coincide with my own.

The scent should be light and fresh, not at all heavy. It should make one think of clean or bright things: mountain streams, sparkling water, perhaps the wind at the beach. It will be used in the heat of summer, but should be versatile enough to be a day or night time scent. I had considered looking into "green" smelling scents but so many of them seem to strike me as rather resinous, which weights them down.

Any suggestions?

smdDear smd,

Well, I'm always the first person to deny the validity of other people's recommendations, especially when the person recommending the scent doesn't actually know the person requesting the recommendation...

So you're asking about scents that are versatile for day and night and appropriate for warmer weather. You mentioned light and fresh, clean and bright (blossom of snow may you- oh, sorry, started singing 'Edelweiss')...and Creed.

Let's begin with Creed. Himalaya, Royal Water, Original Vetiver, Millesime Imperial, Silver Mountain Water, Green Valley, Neroli Sauvage, Erolfa, Green Irish Tweed, Selection Verte, Bois de Cedrat, Citrus Bigarrade, and Zeste Mandarin Pamplemousse would all seem to foot the bill....For more info, check Creed's webiste at

My personal favorite of the scents above is Millesime Imperial (citrus, bergamot, iris, amber and musk). Why? Because out of all the light, fresh, watermelon-ish, citrusy scents I can think of, this is the one that always comes to mind first, is the most enjoyable for me to wear, and seems the most sophisticated. Next in line would be a tie between Green Valley (violet leaves and mint) and Royal Water (citrus, mint, basil and musk). Erolfa is an interesting take on marine scents with a striking salty accord, and Silver Mountain Water (one of my least favorites) is an interesting variation on the black tea craze with added notes of blackcurrant.

Moving in a different direction, away from the wildly expensive...along with Creed Millesime Imperial, Royal Water and Green Valley, here is a list of some of my favorite summer scents:
  • Emporio Armani White for Men
  • Nino Cerruti Si
  • Gendarme
  • Calvin Klein Eternity for Men, Escape for Men, Truth for Men
  • Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu, Ecume de The
  • Chanel #19
  • Nina Ricci Signoricci
  • Chrstian Dior Higher
  • Alain Delon Shogun, Pharos
  • J del Pozo Quasar
  • Sisley Eau de Campagne
  • Annick Goutal Eau de Sud
  • Bvlgari Homme, The Vert
  • Lancome Trophee
  • Givenchy Greenergy, Eau de Givenchy
  • Eau de Lalique
  • L'Artisan Extrait de Songes, Fleur de Carrotte
  • Czech and Speake Neroli
  • Jo Malone White Tie and Tiaras
  • Patricia de Nicolai Cologne Sologne
  • Kenzo pour Homme
  • Jil Sander Pure for Men
  • Joop! Nightflight
  • Christian Celle Calypso Marine
  • Bond #9 Riverside Drive, Central Park
  • Thierry Mugler Cologne
  • Geir by Geir Ness
  • Parfums Rosine, Rose d'Ete
  • Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue
  • Sonia Rykiel pour Homme
The following are also pretty darn good, though not my favorites: Dior 'Dune for Men', The Body Shop 'Oceanus' and 'Of a Man', Bvlgari 'The Blanc' and 'The Rouge', Dolce and Gabbana pour Homme, Celine pour Homme, Molyneux 'Quartz' (both the men's and women's) and Maitre Perfumer et Gantier 'Pour le Jeune Homme'. O Boticario of Brazil has an excellent collection of fresher scents like 'Classic' and 'Galbe', and Banana Republic's 'M' and 'Classic' are also winners. If you haven't yet, I recommend trying the entire range of fragrances from Annick Goutal, Jo Malone, Acqua di Parma, and of course, no experience is complete without a sniff of the Guerlain classics 'Vetiver', 'Habit Rouge' and 'Imperiale'.

I'm sure I've forgotten at least 200 of my other favorites, but this should give you a place to start! Feel free to follow-up with comments! And stay tuned for reviews of many of these scents over the coming months.

Now, start looking for samples and get yourself over to a Sephora and Saks right away so you can start experiencing these on your skin...the only way to truly tell if a scent will work for you!


*Images (from the top): Creed Himalaya, Creed Green Valley, Trophee Lancome, Eau de Lalique, Molyneux Quartz pour Homme


Cara-bellum said...

Mmm... I used to work at the Body Shop and I remember that I liked Of A Man very much.

Pedestrian though it may be, I think Chrome by Azzaro is exactly how a man should smell. Brisk-woodsy-clean. CK's Crave is nice too, although it's a bit fruitier.

marlen said...

Cara - Ya know, I have a lesbian friend who loves Crave, and try though I might to love it, it is really HER scent!

Cara-bellum said...

I have had many a moment when I wished the boyfriend wore cologne, so that I could spray him liberally with Crave. He'd probably eventually tire of my constantly sniffing him though. :) I never thought I could pull off a men's fragrance convincingly, but maybe it's time I started being intrepid like your friend!

marlen said...

Cara - there are a million men's scents that I'm SURE you could pull off! I say go for it and report back to us!

gooderin said...

Marlen, I would like to take a moment to back up a couple of your summer suggestions, especially the Millesime Imperial and the Thierry Mugler Cologne. I would also like to throw out the suggestion of anything by Issey Miyake. These scents make any man undeniably mountable.
As for the discussion on Crave, I really like this scent as well, but my boyfriend was not too into it--he passed it off to his dad who loves it. Granted, ever since I've spoiled my beau with two scents from Creed, he eschews any "pedestrian" scents. I think he just wants me to go broke, as he has indicated that for every upcoming birthday and xmas, he expects something from the house of Creed.
Finally, for a trip down memory lane as far as summer scents go, I would like to mention Cool Water. This scent reminds me of a boy I was wild about in high school--every time I smell it, I think about making out with him in my pool and his Jeep, not to mention standing outside my house for hours saying goodbye when he dropped me off. It was the ultimate high school boy fragrance back in the summer of 1995 and any time I catch a whiff of it, it makes me smile...

marlen said...

gooderin - "These scents make any man undeniably mountable."

Hi there, my name is Marlen, can I buy you a drink? Yes, yes I am wearing Cologne by Mugler...


gooderin said...

Hahaha--if you're wearing that, you could just hand me a can of Nat Light and I would be yours!
I am going to have to buy another bottle of the Cologne by Mugler for the beau; however, he was a little put-off one time when we stopped by a Jack in the Box and the very undesirable woman working there flipped over how good he smelled. He finished the bottle but has not asked for any more and I know it is because of that incident. He is such a snob! What does he expect? Angelina Jolie to come up to him at Nobu and rave over his cologne?! We live in south Louisiana for godsakes--most men down here wear Tag body spray as their signature scent.

marlen said...

gooderin - LOL, well if your boyfriend has snobbish tastes and only likes the best, that bodes well for you!

Cara-bellum said...

Wow, so I went and tried Crave on myself yesterday. Sadly, I don't think this one will work for me... I liked minutes 5 to 30 after I sprayed it. After that, on my skin, it dries down to this stinging musk... more headache-inducing than heady & delicious.

Oh well. I'll never know until I try 'em all... :)